- Birth Date: 27 Jul 1963
- Birth Place: Trivandrum, Kerala
Chitra ... a multi-faceted singer, heralded as the nightingale of South India, Chitra has built a formidable reputation and repertoire as a playback singer for Hindi and South Indian films. Chitra’s distinctively melodious voice coupled with her musical expressiveness is both pleasing and intriguing.
Born into a family of musicians in Trivandrum in Kerala,— her father is the late Krishnan Nair, a well-known singer — singing was bound to happen. The earliest influence on Chitra’s musical career was her father. At school, Chitra was awarded cultural talent scholarship which enabled her to learn Carnatic music under Dr Omanakutty, a professor at the Music College, Thiruvananthapuram. She is a BA graduate in music, but had to discontinue further study in music because of a number of offers to sing in films. But the reward has been worth it.And she got indulged with films, there was no turning back. Hindi was the second language to Chitra at school.
Chitra started her music career when she was offered a song by music director M.G.Radhakrishnan,in the year 1983, in a Malayalam film. She also sang duet with Yesudas which was released before her first song. Since then she sung in several shows of KJ Yesudas and also for his cassettes. The offer which brought Chitra to Chennai was for a Hindi film by KS Gopalakrishnan, Kushi Aur Kushi. SP Venkatesh was the music director, and the song was written by PB Srinivas. But the film was never released.
Her first break in Hindi music was under SP Venkatesh's music with Khushi Aur Khushi, which unfortunately never saw the light of the day. Her other recordings were for Love, Jagruti, Pardes,Virasaat, Sapnay,Mann, Suryavansh, Ziddi... and many more. Her number 'Ganga chali tu kahan' from Pardes was received with great appreciation. Kavita and Sadhana Sargam are among her good friends here. She has done several shows with them abroad.Her favorite musicians include Illayaraja, who is a conventional musician, strict and punctual; AR Rehman who just gives you the basic outline leaves you to fend for yourself and Sruthi with whom you have the liberty to improvise. In Hindi, she fondly recollects late RD Burman.
Chitra has the distinction of singing for the finest veteran music directors as well as for contemporary stalwarts like AR Rehman. She has worked with the topmost music directors in the South as well as in Bollywood. With over 11,000 songs to her credit, she has won innumerable awards for songs in all the four South Indian languages and Hindi, including five National Awards, several awards by various state governments, the Cinema Express Award and Screen-Videocon Awards, to name a few.
Chitra's first foray in the Indipop world was an album with the Voodoo Rapper. Though she was appreciated, the album did not do too well. Then came Piya Basanti with Ustad Sultan Khan and Sunset Point with Gulzar. Chitra has also become a favourite with some leading music directors of bollywood like Anu Malik who swear by her voice.
After Lata Mangeshkar, Chitra is the first Indian woman singer to perform at the famous Royal Albert Hall in London.Chitra has numerous international concerts to her credit. She has mesmerized audiences in India, USA, UK, France, Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and several other countries with her live performances. According to Chitra stage shows are most taxing and affects ones voice on a long run. But she does these shows for her audience who has given her so much love respect and appreciation.